Schopenhauer’s philosophy of music and the possibility of self-transformation through aesthetic understanding of the world

Aktaş, Abdullah Onur
Schopenhauer sets forth a very striking proposition about philosophy: He claims that what music expresses is also true philosophy. In addition to this genuine idea, Schopenhauer’s philosophy captures individual situation within existence profoundly with comprehensive discussions on the value of life. Putting these remarks together, at the very hearth of this dissertation two concerns prevail: How is music as philosophy possible and if it is possible, are there any practical implications of it? Yet, in order to illuminate these concerns, it is a must to face two basic problems. First problem that has to be faced is related with knowledge. Schopenhauer claims that knowledge of the thing-in-itself is possible and even salvation (Erlösung) is related with this special kind of knowledge. This knowledge frees us from the sufferings of the world and it is revealed through arts and especially by music. In this discussion, I will try to make it clear that Schopenhauer’s usage of thing-in-itself is misleading and we are still dealing with the phenomenal realm. This is of great importance to provide a natural tie between Schopenhauer’s philosophy with music. And the second problem takes its source from Schopenhauer’s idea that the object of philosophy is grasping universal truth per se not guiding people for a better conduct of life. This idea excludes querying a link between musical experiences and transforming manner of actions in Schopenhauer’s system. Yet, I will try to overcome this difficulty claiming that Schopenhauer’s philosophy implicitly prescribes as well.


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Citation Formats
A. O. Aktaş, “Schopenhauer’s philosophy of music and the possibility of self-transformation through aesthetic understanding of the world,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2013.